Climate change and other biodiversity concerns have prompted the inauguration of what is said to be Spain’s first hotel chain for bees. Coinciding with the COP 25 summit in Madrid, the initiative was launched by Turrones Picó, a sweets-producing family business based in Jijona in Alicante province. The town is especially well-known for its world-leading production of soft nougat (Turrón de Jijona – or Torró de Xixona in Valencian).
Bee&Bee, as the project is known, was set up with the collaboration of the Fundación Amigos de las Abejas (Friends of Bees Foundation) and Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero (Hotel Technology Institute). The first “hotel” (donated by Turrones Picó) was installed at the Hotel Pou de la Neu in Jijona’s nature park.
The main aim is to draw attention to the danger of bees becoming extinct, which would in turn put agriculture and human food consumption at risk. “More than 75 per cent of food directly depends on the pollination of bees,” warn the promoters of the initiative. “In addition, according to Greenpeace data, in several European countries the populations of these insects has fallen more than 50 per cent. This decline is due to various reasons, but especially standing out are mass deforestation, uncontrolled use of pesticides and lack of safe places where they can make their nests. Bee&Bee wants to raise awareness about this last point.”
Adds Ana Picó, in charge of the company’s quality control department, “Without almond trees flowering and without the honey, there would be no nougat, one of our cultural and gastronomic traditions. This is just a small example of how much life can change if we lose the bees.”
The Hotel Technology Institute joined the initiative because “the hotel sector has the opportunity to make an original, kind and engaging contribution to sustainability in our ecosystem”.
After more than a decade working on projects to protect bees, the Friends of Bees Foundation, welcomed the support of Turrones Picó and all the hotels that have indicated they are keen to join the initiative because, says volunteer Anscari Fuentes (also president of the Natur Alicante collective), “it is a simple way to raise people’s awareness, and a wake-up call on a topic that requires more visibility”.
In addition to Bee&Bee, Turrones Picó has also created a short 3D animation called “Navidades sin turrón” (“Christmas without Nougat”), “a tender story that highlights what can be done for a living being that is so important for the future”.